Owenea FM, the Ardara-based community radio covering Glenties, Portnoo and environs, returns to the airwaves on Saturday November 9.
The green light for the station, which has a potential audience of over 3,500 local listeners, follows agreement from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, which has granted a 100-day licence allowing broadcasting on two days a week
When the station ceased transmitting in August to allow it to prepare a detailed application for a new licence, it was reaching over 400 listeners every weekend via the internet. With the majority from the UK, Australia, Germany, USA, Norway and Dubai, there were also more locally based internet followers on www.donegalsounds.com.
“A considerable number listened from Donegal Town, Kilcar, Dungloe, Glencolmcille, Dublin, Cork and the Midlands,” said station chairman Pauric Gallagher. “Our objective now is to ensure the community is aware of what the station can offer. We will be open to all community groups who want to make their news heard.”
Among many who value the local radio are those living in the sheltered housing complex in Ardara, They listen in, take part in competitions and text requests. And the Care of the Aged group, which meets at the day centre there on Tuesdays, is equally as enthusiastic about the station, according to manager Breda Boyle. “For them, it is like being among friends, getting all the news and hearing their favourite songs. They missed the radio when it stopped broadcasting in August, but they are delighted that it will be back next month.”
Work is nearing completion on the station’s home at Kentucky. The specially converted building boasts a new studio, meeting room, canteen and disabled facilities.
When the station returns to the airwaves on 100.8FM on Saturday, November 9, it will operate on one day for the first five weekends. During that time additional presenters will be brought in, then transmission will be from midnight on a Friday to midnight on Sunday. “We are about to sign the contract for the 100 day licence which will take us up to November 8, 2014,” said treasurer Bosco McGill.
Country music stars will be performing at the radio station’s celebration dance at the Nesbitt Arms Hotel, Ardara, on Saturday November 2. The line-up, organised by Chris Collum and Martin Gildea, includes Lisa Stanley, Shaun McMonagle, Gerrard McTaggart, Simon Peters, Johnny Garvin, and support band Wagon Wheel. Tickets for the dance, which will also include a jiving competition to find Owenea FM’s champion for 2013, are on sale at just €5.